Good post over on it’s tilly time on why we eat meat and why we shouldn’t. I’m a meat eater – but I try to be a thinking one – I hate modern intensive farming methods and try wherever possible to buy from the small local farms around here. I don’t think I’d ever go completely veggie, but I do have a few veggie days each week and keep trying to increase it.
I don’t know that I’d agree that liking meat is necessarily only a psychological habit – I’m a strong believer in the human as animal, with strong genetic memories to times when food was scarce and we hadn’t developed agriculture to easily replace the readily available protein we got from meat. There’s a whole area of taste / tastebuds that essentially relates to “meatiness” or umami. That being said, we have central heating now so we don’t have to light a fire with twigs in the middle of our living room floor. Even if we do have something in us to predispose us towards liking meat, or high fat, high calorie foods which once would have been a great find in meagre times but now means size 24 trousers… doesn’t mean we can’t, as educated and intelligent beings learn to do without it and like other things instead. And that is where training and psychology comes in. Kids are classics – if you presume they won’t like something and make a fuss about it, they’ll probably believe you and tell you they’ll never eat brocolli it’s evil. Interesting article cropped up in my news search touches on it: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/mar/13/food-class-social-divide-diet
We have an awful food culture in this country – almost a knee jerk reaction to rationing. I’m hopeful things are changing and some people are making more of an effort to think about what goes in their mouth, and therefore what they can or can’t tolerate in terms of rearing and slaughtering livestock. My mum has an odd attitude – whenever I’ve said that I think going veggie is a good idea and it would benefit health / environment to do so – she says, ah, but there wouldn’t be any cows or sheep if we didn’t breed them for food. So, somehow, eating animals is a conservationist act?! I think if a chicken had to chose life in a battery farm or extinction and a possible hen house in the sky it might be inclined to go and greet the great golden egg. Bizarre. I think if the current wave of chefs and foodie programme is successful in getting more people to cook again then conditions will improve, because people will be more concerned about quality and taste, and health, and ethics – rather than just cheapness. (I don’t use the word value because it’s a misnomer). Cooking is however probably the main reason I won’t go totally veggie. I like cooking meat too much, the variety, the taste. I don’t find veggie stuff as satisfying to cook and eat. Though I have made and eaten some delicious veggie meals. But I could probably take it down to a couple of meat meals a week, – which in turn would allow the meat to be a higher quality / standard (and inevitably cost). Not sure the other half would go that far though.